During last week, I read 2 excerpts from Richard Wright and Malcolm X’ autobiographical writing. The interesting part is the authors both got self- educated by reading books while they were in tough situations because ofracism. Although the way they accessed toeducationwas different, they had a strong feeling that word could lift them up, and fight for their people after reading books.
Ralph Ellison once said “ If the word has the potency to revive and make us free, it has also the power to blind, imprison, and destroy. The similar quote is also right from Bel Kaufman, he said “ Education is not a product: mark, diploma, job, moneyin that order; it is a process, a never ending one. ” Words are the symbol human beings use to express what they want to say. It can be used in speaking and writing. Using words are the only thing people can do in order to communicate. Therefore when it comes to those who don’t have chance to learn in school, words will open the new whole world to them.
That makes people escape from their ignorance, and enter to the world of education. Moreover, if people can use words fluently, it will be effective. Words do not have any physical power to kill, but mental power which can last in a long period of time. The quote of Ralph Elision is right, and it can apply in Richard Wright and Malcolm X’ situation. The criticism of people to Mencken makes Richard Wright curious, and brings him to books.
The desire in writing letters, and the competition with his inmates bring Malcolm X to prison’s library to get dictionary and book. They both are brought to the new world, and find out their true feelings in reading books. With Richard, he thinks words can use as weapon to fight against unequal events in the world, reveal the truth of history, especially racism. On the other hand, Malcolm X tries to learn as many words as he can in order to fully understand the book, and gain more knowledge, which can help him gainrespectof people around him.
In the other quote, human come to education is not only for making money, it also helps people get the ideas how things work. Knowledge itself is the most important thing to make people realize the value of things, not just for making profit. Furthermore, knowledge is like the endless ocean, once people get into it, a lot of new things open to them. Thus, with Richard Wright and Malcolm X, whom dropped out of school, education is not a process to make money; it is the one that helps them understand what they lack of.
As a writer, Richard Wright would think a lot about what needs to write. His mind would never end thinking to make more ideas, and give all he had into his books. Malcolm X was the same, he spent almost 15 hours per day to read, even though he was pretty successful at the time. Those two quotes are great philosophies. I learn a lot more from the quotes and through Richard Wright and Malcolm X’ self- educations. That’s good for me when I read them, and my mind opens wider.